Parents are usually the first to recognize their child has a problem.
They automatically compare their child with other siblings and children of
the same age, such as playmates. The earlier problems are identified
and addressed, the sooner they are resolved. To help you decide
whether or not your child might be experiencing mental health
difficulties that may require the help of a professional, the following is
offered for you to consider:
Children of Elementary
Difficulty going to
sleep, reluctant to take part in activities that are normal for the
child's age, or refusal to go to school regularly.
unexplainable temper tantrums.
or fidgeting, or constant movement beyond regular playtime activities.
A steady, noticeable
decline in school performance.
A pattern of
deliberate disobedience or aggression.
authority and little or no remorse for breaking the rules of norms.
Poor grades in school
despite trying very hard.
difficulties with attention, concentration, or organization.
negative mood and attitude, often accompanied by poor appetite,
difficulty sleeping, or thoughts of death.
authority, truancy, theft, vandalism, or consistent violation of the
rights of others.
Abuse of alcohol
and/or drugs or heavy tobacco use.
Intense fear of
becoming obese despite normal body weight; constant dieting; restrictive
eating habits; or purging food (vomiting)
Frequent outbursts of
anger or inability to cope with problems and daily activities.
Marked change in
Marked change in
eating or sleeping habits.
or many physical complaints.
Threats of self harm
or self injury; harm to or violence towards others.
Sexual acting out.
Threats to run away.
Strange thoughts and
feeling and unusual behaviors.
Self Injury, talk
of suicide, or violence requires immediate attention. If
necessary, take your child to an emergency room where a psychiatric
assessment can be done.
If you suspect that
your child may have a mental health problem, seek a comprehensive
evaluation done by a mental health professional, preferably one trained
to work with children and adolescents.